The Grass is Greener When the Sun is Yellow || Sarah Rosenthal and Val Witte || 2019

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“Witte and Rosenthal approach the linked figures of Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer from multiple viewpoints, and indeed from different attitudes toward dance itself—rather like the attraction and repulsion anyone sensible feels toward this energy. Witte resents dance’s powers of exclusion, while Rosenthal responds to its open invitation, and they debate these positions with extreme generosity, each taking the other into account and tracking her through question, dare, a step forward, two steps back, across the lines of geography and social system. Just when you think you’ve got them placed, the book comes to a shattering close. But don’t worry, folks, Rosenthal and Witte keep dancing with the work of Rainer and Forti … this party’s just getting started.”––Kevin Killian
In The grass is greener when the sun is yellow, poets Sarah Rosenthal and Valerie Witte engage with the work of dancer-choreographers Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer. Through research into these innovative women’s dances, ideas, and lives, Rosenthal and Witte use language from and about the choreographers to create a series of co-written sonnets that are interwoven with letters between the two poets. These letters describe the process of composing the poems and branch into discussions of dance, poetics, gender, transgression, the unfolding disaster of the current political scene, and much else, in the associative weave that epistolary form enacts. Together, the poems and letters construct an environment of reflection, intimacy, and vulnerability, one that is both challenging and invitational.

Valerie Witte is the author of a game of correspondence (Black Radish Books, 2015) and the chapbooks The history of mining (g.e. collective/Poetry Flash, 2013) and It’s been a long time since I’ve dreamt of someone (Dancing Girl Press, 2017). In 2014 she began a collaboration with Chicago-based artist Jennifer Yorke, and their work appeared in exhibitions in the U.S. and France. She has also participated in residencies at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences; La Porte Peinte Centre pour les Arts in Noyers, France; and Ragdale Foundation. She is a founding member of the Bay Area Correspondence School and, over the years, helped produce many beautiful books for Kelsey Street Press. Learn more at

Sarah Rosenthal is the author of Lizard (Chax, 2016), Manhatten (Spuyten Duyvil, 2009), and several chapbooks. Sarah edited A Community Writing Itself: Conversations with Vanguard Poets of the Bay Area (Dalkey Archive, 2010). Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction pieces have appeared in numerous journals and are anthologized in Kindergarde: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, and Stories for Children (Black Radish, 2013), Building is a Process / Light is an Element: essays and excursions for Myung Mi Kim (P-Queue, 2008), and Bay Poetics (Faux, 2006). She has done grant-supported writing residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Soul Mountain, Ragdale, New York Mills, and Hambidge, and has been a Headlands Center Affiliate Artist. She lives in San Francisco where she works as a Life & Professional Coach and serves on the California Book Awards jury. More at [/box]

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